Psychol Addict Behav. 2016 Mar;30(2):252-262.
Over the last decade, research into “addictive technological behaviors” has substantially increased. Research has also demonstrated strong associations between addictive use of technology and comorbid psychiatric disorders. In the present study, 23,533 adults (mean age 35.8 years, ranging from 16 to 88 years) participated in an online cross-sectional survey examining whether demographic variables, symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, and depression could explain variance in addictive use (i.e., compulsive and excessive use associated with negative outcomes) of two types of modern online technologies: social media and video games. Correlations between symptoms of addictive technology use and mental disorder symptoms were all positive and significant, including the weak interrelationship between the two addictive technological behaviors. Age appeared to be inversely related to the addictive use of these technologies. Being male was significantly associated with addictive use of video games, whereas being female was significantly associated with addictive use of social media. Being single was positively related to both addictive social networking and video gaming. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that demographic factors explained between 11 and 12% of the variance in addictive technology use. The mental health variables explained between 7 and 15% of the variance. The study significantly adds to our understanding of mental health symptoms and their role in addictive use of modern technology, and suggests that the concept of Internet use disorder (i.e., “Internet addiction”) as a unified construct is not warranted.